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Nine counties receive school building funds; Kanawha shut out

Photo by Kenny Kemp School Building Authority Director Mark Manchin speaks to board members during the authority's meeting Monday in Charleston.
Photo by Kenny Kemp
School Building Authority Director Mark Manchin speaks to board members during the authority’s meeting Monday in Charleston.

By Lydia Nuzum

Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County school officials were unsuccessful Monday in their attempt to secure state money to deal with mold problems at South Charleston Middle School.

The West Virginia School Building Authority, however, awarded nine other counties with grant money during a meeting Monday. Authority members considered Major Improvement Project proposals from 24 counties.

Each year, the authority awards individual MIP grants of up to $1 million for structural and safety renovations across the state. This year, Grant, Harrison, Marshall, Mason, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Raleigh and Ritchie counties received a total of $4,799,357 from the SBA.

After parents and students from South Charleston Middle came forward with mold complaints in September, Kanawha County school board officials decided to apply for the state funding. Tests conducted in October found high levels of mold in a girls’ restroom at the school.

The county had requested money to replace the HVAC system in the school’s gymnasium and auditorium, as well as an electrical main service upgrade. That funding project did not include other necessary improvements to the school, which SBA staff noted “would be better addressed by a larger, more comprehensive project…”

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